South Carolina GOP Chairman defends free market amid Romney attacks
January 12th, 2012
06:03 PM ET
11 years ago

South Carolina GOP Chairman defends free market amid Romney attacks

Columbia, South Carolina (CNN) - The chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party came to Mitt Romney's defense on Thursday after Romney's corporate past came under fire from two of his rivals in the GOP presidential race.

"I would like to see this all shake out where Republicans stick by Republican ideals," state party chairman Chad Connelly told CNN. "I am a big proponent of the free market even though it's harsh sometimes. Nobody likes to lose jobs."

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Both Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich have assailed Romney as a predatory venture capitalist more interested in his wallet than job creation, though they have ratcheted back their criticisms in the last day.

Several leading Republicans, including South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, have since defended Romney's record at the private equity firm Bain Capital in the 1980s and 1990s.

Connelly would not condemn Perry and Gingrich by name, but called himself "a big proponent of the free market" and said the debate over Romney's record is misguided.

"What I could like to see is for us to defend the free market and draw a clear distinction between what the free market does when it picks winners and losers, and what Obama has done he propped up a company like Solyndra with taxpayer dollars," he said.

Connelly admitted that in the heat of Republican primary, questions about a candidate's resume are "fair game."

But he also said that venture capital and private equity – the Bain practices being targeted by Romney's rivals - are part of the free market capitalist system that Republicans should embrace.

He said the questions raised about Romney's private sector experience would probably make him a better candidate in the long run.

"I am one of those people who thinks a candidate gets stronger when things get vetted out," Connelly said.

Also see:

Santorum warns voters of scary rhetoric

Rivals grudgingly defend Romney from Bain criticism

Haley warns Republicans against Romney attacks

Gingrich: South Carolina will be 'Armageddon' of attacks

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • South Carolina
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. vic , nashville ,tn

    Now many are asking Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich to turn down where they were 3 weeks back
    Give me a break

    January 12, 2012 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  2. logicnLA

    Here again, there is nothing wrong with free market or what Bain did. But then don't pretend to be the "jobs guy" when you were the one who only cared about profit in business! Like most issues, it's the hypocracy of these candidates that is what infuriates us.
    Say I'm for big business and profits and believe that is what atmerica is about.But then follow it up with, and the Obama administration didn't kill the jobs market- big business profiteers did. that's the guy I want to back- the honest one

    January 12, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  3. Ivy League Trains Idiots

    Free market for repugnicans means the freedom to bribe lawmakers to write rules and laws allowing corporations to lie, cheat, and steal from consumers, shareholders and taxpayers without any consequences.

    January 12, 2012 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  4. eciam

    Life is about second chances, ask GM!
    Romney Created 100,000 Jobs, President Obama Saved Millions!
    While Romney Would Just watch the ship sink!

    January 12, 2012 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  5. Harry

    I thought being a capitalist and being a Republican went hand in hand?

    January 12, 2012 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  6. gt

    nobody lost there jobs in communist countries..... i would rather take my chances with capitalism ...

    January 12, 2012 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  7. The GOP opens mouth and inserts foot

    Before we go any further, Romney needs to produce his birth certificate. His father was born in Mexico. Romney HAS to prove he's an American. Right now, it's doubtful since he's not shown anyone his birth certificate.

    January 12, 2012 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  8. Liz the First

    Let's look at what 'republican ideals' are. Greed, fear, hatred of anything new or anyone different. repubs will always put corporations ahead of people, money above all, and greed before any other motive. anyone other than a multimillionaire who votes for these totally corrupt hypocrites is a fool of the first magnitude.

    January 12, 2012 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  9. Aldo Martinez

    Does any Republican candidate have a serious plan to improve our quality of life? and don't say – tax cuts to the top 3% – been through that, done that, doesn't work – somebody has to have a decent idea

    January 12, 2012 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  10. donna

    Mr. Wall Street initiated Bain-directed Leverage buyout scheme. He will lose to Obama if he becomes the Republican nominee.

    January 13, 2012 02:38 am at 2:38 am |
  11. DixonIV

    I laugh when I see a Republican bash Obama for proping up businesses. They always say we have a free market and it will sort that stuff out. We don't have a free market in this country... Chapter 11 bankruptcy, subsidies, R&D and governement (no-bid) contracts all prop up poorly managed companies that shouldn't be in business.

    January 13, 2012 03:39 am at 3:39 am |
  12. Rudy NYC

    No one is attacking the free market. People are disputing Gov. Romney's claim that he is a job creator. Gov. Romney is a plutocrat sells money to make himself more money. His claim to have created 100,000 jobs is grossly misleading because Romney is also counting all of the jobs created *after* he left Bain full time. Presidents only get credit or blame for jobs created or lost during their terms.

    January 13, 2012 08:15 am at 8:15 am |